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maldonadopresser.jpgWhile Gov. Jerry Brown enjoys a projected state budget surplus and raises money for his re-election effort in Los Angeles on Thursday, his Republican challengers are looking for stimulation farther afield.

Former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado will fly on Friday to Honduras, where he will participate as an international observer in that country's presidential election. He will then travel to Guatemala for meetings with elected officials before returning to California on Wednesday, adviser Ron Nehring said.

The candidate is interested in "human trafficking, the drug trade and associated violence, confronting corruption and promoting economic growth and trade," his campaign said in a release.

Meanwhile, Tim Donnelly announced Thursday he is in Scottsdale, Ariz., for a meeting of the Republican Governors Association. The Twin Peaks assemblyman said he is meeting with governors, but he declined to say which ones.

Donnelly said "every state that has a Republican governor seems to be doing really well."

Among other factors, Donnelly cited unemployment rates, job creation efforts and tax policies in Republican-led states.

Such comparisons are fraught with difficulties. Of the 10 states with the lowest unemployment rates, for example, six are governed by Republicans. But they also govern all but three of the 10 states where the unemployment rate is highest.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whose state is in the latter group, was elected chairman of the Republican Governors Association on Thursday. Donnelly, a tea party favorite, said despite disagreeing with the more moderate Christie on any number of policy issues, "I think he does have some insights that I can learn from."

Asked what those might be, Donnelly said, "How he won in a state that's completely dominated by the other party."

PHOTO: Abel Maldonado speaks to reporters in Sacramento on May 8, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua


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